East County shopper says thief tracked her from mall, targeted her car with gifts inside

Posted at 6:10 PM, Dec 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-23 22:08:15-05

SPRING VALLEY, Calif. - A Spring Valley woman has a warning for last-minute shoppers after she says a thief followed her from a strip mall and targeted her car.

Jacqueline told 10News she went shopping Monday morning in the Casa de Oro plaza in Spring Valley. She shopped for about an hour and would periodically put her bags into her trunk. Her last stop was Albertsons, and she ended up with a total of 5 bags in her Volvo station wagon.

Eventually, she drove back to her apartment just a few blocks away. Sources told 10News that surveillance video shows an SUV followed closely behind Jacqueline's car as she drove into the complex.

Minutes later, after Jacqueline had taken in most of her bags, surveillance video shows a woman walking up to the station wagon and attempting to open the driver door. She then realizes the back door is unlocked and opens it.

The SUV then drives up, and the woman grabs what Jacqueline didn't bring into her home -- a bag of toilet paper, some reusable grocery bags, dog toys and a phone cable.

Moments later, she gets into the waiting SUV -- with a pit bull peeking out the back -- and drives away.

Jacqueline is convinced the thieves first saw her as she shopped.

"It's uncomfortable. Never a good feeling to know someone is watching you. Shoppers just need to be vigilant," said Jacqueline.

Experts say when you're shopping, be aware of who is around you, along with anything unusual when you leave stores and get to your car.